Sunday, 2 August 2009

Blinded by the Light 18 Elitism - The Trap

There are only two kinds of people in the world: those who are saved and those who are not. This may seem a very obvious thing to say, but there is creeping into the church the idea that, to paraphrase George Orwell, "All Christians are equal, but some are more equal than others."

In some places people are frowned upon because they do not dress smartly to go to church. In others they are laughed at because they wear a suit and tie and everyone else is in jeans. In more formal churches, laughter or applause is considered inappropriate and disrespectful, and many are unhappy about demonstrative worship. On the other hand, those churches where people are demonstrative can be concerned about members who do not wave their hands or dance, but prefer to be quiet before God.

There is also elitism between congregations over these and other things. This is most marked in the area of the Holy Spirit. The charismatic movement has brought a reawakening of the life of the Spirit flowing in the lives of Christians and through their congregations. Faith has been deepened and become more dynamic. Theology is no longer theoretical. People believe that we can claim God's promises today, and are realising that receiving Christ includes receiving the Spirit and his power in order to come into the full riches of God's kingdom living.

Unfortunately this has resulted in an elitism between what are seen as the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.

Claiming to be superior and to have arrived, they are often cruelly condemning in their attitude to others and refuse to take advice from anyone who is not of their own type of spirituality. This often springs not from any particularly vicious spiritual pride, but from false teaching to which they have been introduced on the subject of initiation, seeing it as necessarily a two-stage affair; other Christians may have reached stage one, but they have, through a 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' attained ipso facto to stage two - a mountain ridge from which they are unable to descend whatever they do (for they are Spirit-filled folk; they have arrived), a mountain ridge which relieves them of any further necessity to go on climbing.
(I Believe In The Holy Spirit, Michael Green, p.264)

Previous posts in this series:

Legalism: The Truth, The Trap, The Solution
Magic Formulas: The Truth, The Trap, The Solution
Answers to Everything: The Truth,The Trap, The Solution
Scripture Twisting: The Truth, The Trap, The Solution
Superstition: The Truth, The Trap, The Solution
Elitism: The Truth

Further posts to come in this series:
Elitism: The Solution
The Need to See: The Truth, The Trap, The Solution

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